Candice called me in the middle of the week to tell me about her doctor’s appointment.
“The doctor thinks the baby’s going to come this weekend. But I think she’s going to wait until next week.”
“Wouldn’t the doctor know?” I asked.
“I think the doctor wants it to come this weekend, since she’s on call. Sarah’s coming in on Friday night, and we’re going for pedicures, manicures, and stuff like that, so I can look great when the baby gets here next week.”
“Sounds great! Are your sisters going to be here?”
"They’re planning to come on Thursday. I know I’m going to want Sarah and my sisters in the room with me, but if the baby comes this weekend, would you and your Mom be okay being in the room with me?”
“Absolutely!” I tried to contain my excitement at both the honor and the prospect!
We chatted for a few more minutes about her pregnancy, the baby, and the upcoming few days. Later on that night, I told Brett we were on “Red Alert” as Plan B and that both of us were to keep our cell phones on AT ALL TIMES, just in case Candice called.
Thursday night found us in the Emergency Room at SwedishAmerican Hospital.
I had chest pains, although I was pretty sure it was my usual bout with costochondritis (which basically means “chest pains”). It’s completely harmless, although not painless. However, the immediate care clinics will not see you for chest pains, as only hospitals have the equipment necessary to diagnose heart attacks (chief symptom = chest pains).
And, actually, I’m okay going to the hospital since, let’s face it, we all know the Big H is coming for me sometime.
So, Brett and I spent six hours waiting to see an Emergency Room doctor (after I was given an immediate EKG to determine the Big H was holding off for now).
Actually, it wasn’t so bad.
We played Hangman for a while. At least until Brett said he thought I was being a little sadistic (I think it’s cute to make X’s for the eyes and have the little tongue wagging out of the mouth, and not – as my husband said – the sign of a sick mind.)
He insisted we switch to the Wheel of Fortune kind of word guessing – complete with clues such as Person, Place, or Thing.
His words were Springfield, justification, and battleship. My words were bungalow and Liberia, before we hit a slight blip. I maintained cannibal was a Person, while Brett claimed it was an Occupation.
Our discussion on the matter prompted a laugh from the gang member sitting across from us.
He told the front desk he “cut his hand with a piece of glass” while working in construction. However, the fact that he was shoved out of a black moving van which then sped away anonymously, made us doubt his claim.
Plus, Swedes (the hospital’s nickname) is not in the greatest area of town.
By the time we saw the doctor, it was almost midnight. It was after 12:30 a.m. on Friday before we got home. We fell into bed, exhausted.
At 6:25 a.m., I heard a consistent buzzing.
“Nobody ever calls me on my cell phone.” I said out loud, as I fumbled for the phone. Just before I hit the answer button, I realized exactly WHO would be calling me.
Sure enough, it was Uncle Billy! They were at the hospital, and Candice was in labor.
I should have been sleepy, but the baby news had my adrenaline pumping.
“We’re having a baby!” I yelled at Brett. “Hurry! Hurry!”
I dialed Mom’s number. “How fast can you get dressed?” I shouted breathlessly.
“What? Oh! Oh! Candice is having her baby. I’ll be ready!” (Mom and I are so psychic; it’s a little scary.)
I would probably have driven straight to the hospital in my Indian casino shirt and ratty sweats, if Brett hadn’t insisted on taking a quick shower.
“You could, um, change,” he suggested.
“Right. Right.” I hurriedly changed, brushed my teeth, and put my lipstick on. I didn’t want my new niece to see me for the first time with no make-up.
I insisted on driving to Mom’s (“You were a woman possessed,” my husband feels the need to add). The two of us talked excited all the way to the hospital, while Brett dozed.
When we got to the hospital, Candice was in a lot of pain. But, after the epidural, she felt SO much better, and we were able to talk for a while.
Uncle Billy told us Candice’s sisters were on their way. “They just couldn’t wait,” he told us. They’d packed up and were on their way from Tennessee. Sarah was still on the road from New Jersey, so Plan B had been called into action!
The nurse told us that sometimes the epidural causes the body to relax and the baby to come quickly. She was right! Within only a few hours, Candice was ready to push. It happened so fast that a midwife was called in, just in case the doctor didn’t make it on time.
Thankfully, the doctor arrived shortly thereafter, rapidly putting his scrubs. “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “It’s your first baby. I thought we had more time!”
I have to say, as a side note, it was so sweet how he introduced himself to Candice as she was in the middle of a push. It was like they were old friends meeting at a party. He was so jovial and genuinely warm.
Just a few more minutes later, the most beautiful little girl in the world arrived! Miss Brielle was stunning on arrival, and while Mom and Candice were dry-eyed, I cried like a baby.
Although not louder than the actual baby. Wow, what a set of pipes!
It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Truly a miracle. I found myself in awe, thanking God for His perfect grace. That even through the Fall, childbirth could be so magnificent.
I hope I thanked Candice enough for her gift of allowing me to be present on the day she became a mother. It was a great honor and one of the most special days of my life.
The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of phone calls, Charity, Colleen, and Sarah’s arrival, and a flurry of baby-related activities.
On Sunday, when Brett and I were finally coming down off the “baby high” we’d been on, we relived the experience, already laughing at ourselves. Apparently, I was little hysterical with joy, while Mom was “calm and steady like a rock.”
I know the Boehms always think Mom and I are a little dramatic and a little theatrical. For solid down-to-earth people, they put up with us amazingly well.
But I also know Mom’s heart broke a little bit that her sister Kathy, Candice’s mom, couldn’t be there to welcome her first grandchild into the world.
“Maybe God’s pulling the clouds back, so your Mom can see you right now,” Mom told Candice in the middle of her labor. I nodded enthusiastically.
Candice gave us “the look” (the one I get from the Boehms all the time) like, “Okay…dramatic!” But she nodded quickly before another push brought us Brielle.
Later, as I sat holding my warm, snuggly little niece, I thought maybe Mom and I were wrong. Maybe Aunt Kathy got to meet Brielle before all of us. Maybe she saw her granddaughter before any of us could. In heaven.
Then I said a little prayer that, Lord willing, Brielle and her grandmother will meet again in heaven someday.
At the end of the day, I thought again of what rejoicing there will be - far beyond the joy of that amazing room - when we are all together again!